Spanish new revolution website recently reported that in recent years, people began to give priority to the use of alternative fuels to reduce the harm of fossil fuels to the environment. In the automotive industry, the transition to new energy represents a revolution conducive to decarbonization. But what are the real benefits of these new energy sources in reducing the carbon footprint generated by transportation?
Gasoline and diesel
In terms of conventional fuels, the carbon footprint of diesel engines is lower than that of gasoline (about 13%). The greenhouse gas emissions of diesel in the acquisition, conversion, distribution and use stages are lower than that of gasoline.
On the other hand, compared with traditional internal combustion engines, gasoline and diesel hybrid technology can reduce the carbon footprint by 18% and 26% respectively, and 17% and 37% respectively in the fuel use stage.
Natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas
Compared with gasoline, the impact of the use of compressed natural gas in the whole life cycle of energy is reduced by 18%. However, compared with diesel, the reduction is only 5%.
LPG has a 16% reduction compared with gasoline, so its effect of reducing carbon footprint is similar to that of natural gas.
Although natural gas has a greater impact on fuel acquisition and distribution, LPG has a poor effect on reducing carbon footprint in the process of emission through the exhaust pipe of the vehicle itself.
As far as biofuels are concerned, it must be taken into account that the carbon dioxide emissions generated during their combustion are similar to the carbon dioxide absorbed by plants during their growth. Therefore, in this regard, their emissions can be considered as neutral.
When a representative production route is selected for each biofuel and selected according to the medium-term availability of combustion and the production process implemented in Europe, bioethanol reduces the carbon footprint of the whole life cycle by 28% compared with gasoline, and its carbon footprint will be negative in the acquisition stage because it can absorb carbon dioxide.
On the other hand, compared with gasoline, biodiesel reduces the carbon footprint by 54% in the whole cycle. Similarly, considering the absorption of carbon dioxide, the former also shows negative emissions in the first stage.
Using the European power generation system in 2016, the carbon footprint of the energy life cycle used by electric vehicles is 68% lower than that of gasoline. In the use phase, the carbon footprint can be reduced by 100%, i.e. zero emission.
However, in the energy acquisition stage, the emissions related to the power production process are 71% higher than that of gasoline. In 2016, fossil energy accounted for 43%, renewable energy 29% and nuclear energy 26% of the energy portfolio used for power generation in Europe
Synthetic fuel and hydrogen
The advantage of synthetic fuel is that the former is independent of non renewable resources such as oil, and synthetic fuel can be used in existing vehicles without developing new technologies for engines.
Its production methods are diverse, and the carbon footprint values vary greatly. For example, choosing wood waste as a resource produces 99% lower carbon emissions than gasoline, while choosing coal is 188% higher.
As for hydrogen, compared with gasoline, its carbon footprint is reduced by 50% in the whole life cycle and 100% in the use stage. On the contrary, according to different hydrogen production processes, the carbon footprint generated in the hydrogen acquisition stage can be 167% higher than that of gasoline, especially the so-called grey hydrogen, which is the main production route at present.
Therefore, compared with electric vehicles and vehicles using biofuels or synthetic fuels, grey hydrogen has a greater impact on climate change.